Monday 27 October 2014

Blue Tit and Coal Tit in Lewis Crescent

Andy M took these photos of a Blue Tit and Coal Tit on a conifer in his garden on 25 October 2014

Blue tit

Coal tit

Coal tit

Friday 24 October 2014

Kingfisher at Granta Park - June 2014

This beautiful photo of a Kingfisher was taken by Hayley Smith at Granta Park on 16th June.

Monday 29 September 2014

Baby Grass Snake in Cambridge Road

Derek nearly stepped on this very small grass snake in their garden on 14 September.

Scale can be estimated from the leaves in the top corner (a small weed) and the blades of grass.

Sunday 28 September 2014

World Rivers Day - Display at Abington Woods Open Day 27th September 2014

This year we celebrated World Rivers Day (a day early) with a river inspection and litter pick-up and a display at the Abington Woods Open Day. Abington Woods is now open for business at the former scout camp site and is also the new home for Holme Court School. During our inspection, we saw and removed a Himalayan Balsam plant; this is an invasive species and can displace native plants, especially along river banks.

Himalayan Balsam - found during litter-pick and river inspection
Abington Woods Open Day

We showed the visitors some of the inhabitants of the River Granta that flows along its southern boundary. We had six crayfish (regrettably the invasive Signal variety), 4 small fish and various other small creatures, notably fly larvae and shrimps. We had a steady flow of 'customers' for most of the time (11:00 - 15:00). The (fairly large) crayfish were quite an attraction!

Young visitors inspecting river samples
Sticklebacks and Minnow

Larger fish are also in our river. We had several reports of brown trout, around 200 mm long, being seen. Kingfishers are also seen regularly along this stretch of the river.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Hibernating Peacock butterflies

Anne found 14 Peacock butterflies which had settled down for the winter on a plank of wood leaning against the wall in the darkest corner of their shed. They were in 3 distinct groups (5, 5 and 4), and all oriented facing down the vertical slope of the leaning plank.

For the second photo, the plank was briefly removed from the shed for better light

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Common darter dragonfly

Jennifer found this Common Darter (dragonfly) on the tip of her car radio aerial:

Sunday 31 August 2014

Puffball fungi

Audrey has some fine puffballs, probably giant puffballs or Calvatia gigantea, in her meadow...

Photos by Peter B 30/9/2014

Monday 25 August 2014

Abington Shoal project

On Thursday 21st August, intrepid NatureWatch / RiverCare volunteers (Peter, Richard, Stan, Barry, Robin) helped to create a shoal in the river near the footbridge from Church Lane to the Recreation Ground.

This was designed by the South Cambs Ecology Officer, Rob Mungovan, to improve the habitat for river life and allow people to get closer to the river. Cambridge Water kindly provided the digger/driver and South Cambs district council provided half of the gravel. Both came to help on the day as did the Wildlife Trust.

For more details, please see the village web-site:
and the Cambridge News:

Sunday 17 August 2014

River Sampling - 12 August 2014

We met at 18:30 to sample at our usual site near the cricket nets.

This is what we recorded:

Organisation: Abington Naturewatch
Site name: Cricket Pitch Reach, Abington, Cambridge
River: Granta
Grid ref:
Monitoring Group Coordinator: Rob Mungovan
Date: 12 August 2014
Recorded by: Anne Dunbar-Nobes and Peter Brunning
Cased caddisfly:  Nil
Caseless caddisfly:  Nil
Mayfly Ephemeridae:  Nil
Blue-winged olive: Category B, Estimated number 20
Flat bodied up-wings:  Nil
Olives: Category C, Estimated number 120 (all very small)
Stoneflies: Nil
Gammarus (Freshwater shrimp): Category B, Estimated number 35

River low; overcast, windy, cool evening (6.30pm); three kick-shuffles undertaken within the allotted 3 minutes
  1. stones/rocks on bottom, small amount of weed; 
  2. large stones/gravel shallow area;
  3. in main river flow over stoney bottom.
Note: now the reach is so shady, and recent heavy rainfall has increased the flow and removed the weed and riffles, there is very little variation within our 30 metre stretch – no silty areas or  thick weed beds.
Hatches seen: none
Other fauna: Signal crayfish (5); tiny leech, red hairworms (2)

Non-catches: water snails, fish, beetle larvae


Shrimp (Gammarus)

Signal Crayfish

Moth trapping - 16/17 August 2014

David and Jennifer kindly set up a moth trap in Audrey's garden. We met to inspect the results at 08:00 on Saturday, 16 August.

With the assistance of local expert, John Dawson, we identified over 20 different moths, most of which are shown below.

Macro Moths (Noctuidae unless noted)

Straw Dot

Flounced Rustic

Setaceous Hebrew Character

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

Copper Underwing

Copper Underwing

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

Large Yellow Underwing



Cabbage Moth

Large Yellow Underwing

Square-spotted Clay

Flounced Rustic

Flame Shoulder

Straw Underwing

Square Spotted Clay

Small Square-spot

Vine's Rustic

Setaceous Hebrew Character

Shuttle-shaped Dart

Setaceous Hebrew Character

Willow Beauty (Geometridae)

Micro Moths

Mother of Pearl (Pyralidae)

Mother of Pearl (Pyralidae)

Common Plume (Pterophoridae)

Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix (Tortricidae)

The Aims of Abington Naturewatch

At their meeting on 9 April 2005 the members approved this revised version of the aims of Abington Naturewatch:

  • To monitor and record the wildlife (fauna & flora) within the borders of the Abingtons;
  • To encourage protection of our wildlife, maintain its quality and foster its diversity;
  • To promote awareness of the richness, potential and problems of the natural environment of the Abingtons;
  • To cooperate in improving access to the local natural environment for the benefit of all Abington villagers.

Pat Daunt, Founder

The organisation is informal and communication is by email if possible; members are notified of events from time to time. Contact details are maintained by a small "project team". There is currently no membership fee as costs are covered by voluntary contributions at events.

Members are encouraged to report notable sightings of flora and fauna within the Abingtons to the appropriate sector coordinator and an illustrated record is published annually.

A map of the area covered, with some features noted, is available here:>

For more information or to join, please contact David Farrant on (01223) 892871.

Contributions to our records should be sent to sector contacts or either of the above. Photographs may also be submitted to Andy Merryweather (